Soon after I became a Christian, I was working in a research laboratory. One of the researchers was a Christian and was active in his local church and supporting other missionaries. One day, he shared with me an encounter he had with a missionary who had returned after being away for over 2 years. This missionary had discipled him prior to leaving and the two of them had not communicated since his departure. After meeting for several hours, the missionary turned to the researcher and told him, “You’ve become weaker in your faith!”
My friend’s face winced as he shared this conversation. I was taken aback by this harsh commentary. I did not ask for further clarification and simply nodded.
That episode occurred over 30 years ago but it still remains vivid in my memory. The statement was needlessly judgmental and insensitive. Even if there was some truth to the missionary’s statement, there are definitely more tactful ways of expressing the same sentiment.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
There is a time for constructive criticism but it must be tempered with compassion and encouragement. God is the ultimate judge of whether we are stronger or weaker in our faith. Our task is to actively seek ways to support, encourage, and build up our fellow brothers and sisters within the Body of Christ.
Love and respect the Lord; seek His will in your life.